Deep Rock Galactic

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Deep Rock Galactic
Deep rock galactic cover art.jpg
Developer(s)Ghost Ship Games
Publisher(s)Coffee Stain Publishing
EngineUnreal Engine 4
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Xbox One
ReleaseMay 13, 2020
Genre(s)First-person shooter
Mode(s)Multiplayer, single-player

Deep Rock Galactic is a cooperative first-person shooter video game developed by Danish independent studio Ghost Ship Games and published by Coffee Stain Publishing. Deep Rock Galactic was fully released on May 13, 2020 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One after spending two years in early access.[1][2][3][4]

Gameplay[edit]

Deep Rock Galactic is a 1-4 player cooperative[5] first-person shooter video game where players work together while exploring destructible procedurally generated cave systems.[6] The game focuses on PvE combat, meaning there is no benefit to killing other players.

Players take on the role of four space dwarves assigned to various missions, which include many objectives such as mining specific minerals, stealing alien eggs, eliminating targets, or retrieving lost equipment. These are usually the main objective, required to complete the mission. It is possible to complete a secondary objective (usually collecting other materials or items) to receive extra credits, which are used to improve the player's weapons and abilities of the classes; and experience points, which increase a player's level.

The game takes place underground on Hoxxes IV, a dangerous planet full of minerals, biomes, and bugs. Missions take place in large caverns and tunnels, with varying terrain generation, objectives and enemies depending on the biome and mission type.[1][6] Players fight insect-like aliens as they attempt to complete the mission objectives and collect materials for crafting.[1][7][8]

Classes[edit]

There are four playable classes to choose from: the Engineer, the Gunner, the Driller, and the Scout. Each class has their own experience level, accessories and promotion level, with the player's progress shown as their player rank. Once a player has reached level 25 on a class they are offered a promotion, resetting their class levels and unlocking end-game content. A player can do multiple promotions with the same class, however only the first one has any gameplay benefit. Players can choose their class while in the lobby by using the character selection terminal inside of any of the players' bays.

Each of the four playable classes has two primary and two secondary weapon options. Initially only one primary weapon and one secondary weapon is offered to the player, with the other weapon options unlocking as the player progresses through the game. Weapons can be upgraded by choosing a weapon upgrade at specific levels. Weapons can also be overclocked, some overclocks add a small benefit with no downside, others offer a huge upside with a significant penalty.

Class Summaries[edit]

The Engineer uses a shotgun as his primary weapon and a grenade launcher as his secondary weapon by default. These can be replaced with an electrical submachine gun and a plasma gun which fires horizontal plasma beams. To support his team the Engineer has a platform gun that fires circular platforms, and a deployable sentry gun that automatically locks onto enemies.

The Engineer acts as a primarily defensive class, utilizing his sentry gun as area denial to prevent the Glyphid swarms from approaching too closely. His grenade launcher can be used to clear large groups of enemies and his plasma gun effectively deals damage and strips armor from the larger Glyphids. He works well in conjunction with the Scout, who can grapple onto the Engineer's platforms and mine isolated minerals.

The Gunner shooting at a Glyphid

The Gunner uses a minigun as his primary weapon and high-caliber revolver as his secondary weapon. These can later be replaced with a high-caliber autocannon and a rapid fire pistol. To support his team the Gunner uses a zipline gun that fires anchored ziplines, and a deployable shield generator that generates a protective shield bubble.

The Gunner acts as the team's source of heavy firepower and is able to kill a large number of bugs quickly. His zipline gun makes up for his lack of mobility and allows the team to traverse difficult terrains such as chasms and cliffs. His shield generator provides protection for his team during Glyphid swarms, preventing most bugs from entering the shields radius while it is deployed.

The Driller uses a flamethrower as his primary weapon and semi-automatic pistol as his secondary weapon. These can later be replaced with freeze cannon and plasma pistol respectively. The Driller uses handheld power drills to dig through terrain much faster than the regular pickaxe does as his utility tool, and a satchel charge that carves out a large portion of terrain, or kills enemies in its blast as his deployable.

In most cases, the Driller allows the team to navigate through blocked paths easily, forming shortcuts with the help of his power drills. This is especially useful when returning to the Drop pod after the mission's objectives are completed.

The Scout uses an assault rifle as his primary weapon and double-barreled sawed-off shotgun as his secondary weapon. These can later be replaced with a semi-automatic rifle based on the M1 Garand and dual-wield machine pistols respectively. The Scout uses a grappling gun to quickly navigate around caves as his utility tool, and flare gun to fire bright, long-lasting flares anchored to the terrain as his deployable.

In most cases, the Scout will move ahead of the team using his grappling gun, for reconnaissance, and aid his team by illuminating dark caves with his flare gun, uncovering hidden ore veins and dangers. The Scout is also able to mine difficult-to-reach ores or collect items with ease, especially with the support of the Engineer's platforms. However, the Scout needs to be careful to not overextend due to his limited self-defence capabilities. His weapons heavily favor a hit-and-run strategy of kiting around and damaging enemies, then leaving before those enemies can retaliate.

Development[edit]

Deep Rock Galactic is Ghost Ship Games' first game. They said they benefited from an early access model, as having community feedback allowed them to iterate on the mechanics and design of the game and to choose what features to prioritize. The low-poly art style was chosen because of the speed it allowed them to add models and content in, compared to a more detail-oriented art style.[9] They noted that the most difficult part of development was creating the procedural world generator. The founder later said “Our CTO just took a week away and when he returned he said, 'I have something'... Then he had this prototype of a crazy mesh generated procedural look that we ended up with, and it's still like, this is just awesome, but how does it actually work?". Deep Rock Galactic used Unreal Engine for development and was made with the engine's Blueprint scripting.[10] The game continues to be developed, with intermittent updates adding new biomes, equipment and accessories.

Deep Rock Galactic was originally released on 28 February 2018 and spent about two years in early access development.

Reception[edit]

The Early Access version of Deep Rock Galactic was well received by critics, who praised the game's atmosphere and challenging levels. Multiple reviewers compared parts of the experience of Deep Rock Galactic to Minecraft and Left 4 Dead.[1][6] The full version of the game was released on May 13, 2020.[16] Deep Rock Galactic received positive reviews from critics, ending up with an averaged score of 84 on Metacritic.[17][18]

Nic Reuben of Rock, Paper, Shotgun enjoyed how the game's classes meshed well together in co-op, but were each viable for co-op, saying that "each class is both viable and enjoyable".[19] Matt Miller of Game Informer appreciated how the unique secondary objectives gave the game a risk/reward dynamic.[20]

Phil Iwaniuk, writing for PC Gamer, enjoyed the tension that the exfiltration phase brought to each mission, and the persistent upgrades that let the player customize their dwarf.[21] Leana Hafer of IGN praised the distinct abilities of each of the dwarves and the low-poly visual style, but criticized the game for its connection issues, saying "About one in every five missions, I’d run into connection issues that could cause other players to lag severely and disconnect."[22]

In January 2021 Ghost Ship Games said that Deep Rock Galactic had sold over 2 million units.[23]

In March 2021, Ghost Ship Games and Coffee Stain Publishing won Indie Game of the Year and Excellence in Multiplayer awards at South by Southwest.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Charlie Hall. "Deep Rock Galactic is the best new co-op shooter on Steam". Polygon. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  2. ^ Mikkel Martin Pedersen. "Deep Rock Galactic Arrives on Xbox One and Windows 10 This Month". Xbox. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  3. ^ "Live out your dwarf-bothering fantasies (well, most of them) with Deep Rock Galactic at the PC Gamer Weekender". GamesRadar. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  4. ^ TANNER DEDMON. "Deep Rock Galactic Comes to Early Access, Game Preview This Month". Comic Book. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Sherif Sae. "Deep Rock Galactic is a fresh take on co-op shooters with tangible depth and a lot of character". VG247. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Alex Wiltshire (March 19, 2018). "How Deep Rock Galactic mines fun from absolute darkness". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  7. ^ James Davenport. "Deep Rock Galactic's Left 4 Dead-like mining adventures make it the ideal Early Access game". PC Gamer. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Shawn Petraschuk. "Guns, Gold, and Glory in the Caverns of Deep Rock Galactic". Unreal Engine. Retrieved June 23, 2018.
  9. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic and the advantages of open development". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  10. ^ "How Ghost Ship Games found success with Deep Rock Galactic". Unreal Engine. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  11. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic Review". IGN. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  12. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic Review – Off To Work We Go". Game Informer. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  13. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  14. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  15. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic for Xbox One". Metacritic. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  16. ^ Brown, Fraser (April 29, 2020). "Deep Rock Galactic is digging its way out of Early Access on May 13". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  17. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  18. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  19. ^ "Deep Rock Galactic review". Rock Paper Shotgun. 2020-05-13. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  20. ^ Miller, Matt. "Deep Rock Galactic Review – Off To Work We Go". Game Informer. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  21. ^ Iwaniuk, Phil (2020-05-29). "Deep Rock Galactic review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  22. ^ Deep Rock Galactic Review - IGN, retrieved 2021-03-11
  23. ^ Kerr, Chris (January 26, 2021). "Deep Rock Galactic has topped 2 million sales". Gamasutra. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  24. ^ "Gaming Awards - SXSW Conference & Festivals", South by Southwest, retrieved March 26, 2021

External links[edit]